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An Introduction to Letter Writing

Letter writing can be fun, help children learn to compose written text, and provide handwriting practice — and letters are valuable keepsakes. This article contains activities to help children ages 5–9 put pen to paper and make someone’s day with a handwritten letter.

On this page:

What’s so special about receiving a handwritten letter, activity 1: warming up to letter writting, activity 2: introducing letter writing, activity 3: formal letters, activity 4: informal letters, activity 5: letter of inquiry and letters providing information, activity 6: thank you letters, activity 7: letters of invitation, activity 8: letters of complaint, activity 9: letters to santa, activity 10: letters to newspapers and magazines.

  • Introduction

Letter writing is an essential skill. Despite the prevalence of emails and text messages, everyone has to write letters at some point. Letters of complaint, job applications, thank you letters, letters requesting changes or making suggestions — the list goes on and on. Encouraging children to write letters from an early age will improve their communication, social and handwriting skills, and teach them what they need to know about writing and structuring letters.

Within schools

Letter writing can be included in a school’s curriculum. Visits to museums or farms prompt thank you letters, for example contacting schools in other countries and exchanging letters links into geography. Writing imaginary letters to historical people can encourage understanding of a historical period or topic. Writing letters encourages good social skills, learning to say thank you and asking for information politely.

Letter writing has many purposes, including the following:

  • It encourages good manners, especially writing ‘thank you’ letters
  • Children can write invitations
  • Children can write letters to friends and relatives
  • Pen pals are always popular, giving insights into other children’s lives, especially overseas

In this article:

  • What’s so special about receiving a handwritten letter?
  • Warming up to letter writing
  • Introducing letter writing
  • Formal letters
  • Informal letters
  • Letter of enquiry and letters providing information
  • Thank you letters
  • Letters of invitation
  • Letters of complaint
  • Letters to Santa
  • Letters to newspapers and magazines

Quite apart from curriculum requirements, being asked to write letters is a task that will appeal to children. The sheer fun of sending and receiving letters appeals to every child. There is something special about putting letters into the post box and then having letters delivered by the postman… the brightly colored stamps, seeing your name on the envelope and knowing that inside is a long awaited letter from a friend or member of the family. It shows someone cares and has taken the time to sit down and think about you.

Handwritten letters have a charm of their own. You can take time to think about what you want to say. You can keep letters to read again and again. You can admire the handwriting; share dreams and thoughts. Responding by letter is very different to the immediacy of a text message or an email.

Use the above themes to encourage the children to discuss letter-writing. Ask the children to put their hands up if they have ever received a personal letter. Ask for one or more volunteers to talk about how they felt to receive the letter. Here are some initial questions that may help:

  • What was in your mind as you read the letter?
  • Did you keep the letter to read again?
  • Did you share your letter with anyone?
  • Did you write back?

And some questions for whole class or group discussions:

  • Can the class describe any differences between the handwritten letter and an email?
  • Do the children think there is ever a time when only a handwritten letter will do?

Ask the class to interview each other to find out each individual’s experiences of writing and sending letters. This can be recorded in a chart.

Collect a supply of different types of letters — both formal and informal. Ask the children to sort them out into two groups. Which were written to friends? Which are formal letters from businesses? Which features or characteristics distinguish formal from informal?

Having done that ask the children to look for differences between the two groups. This allows a discussion to take place about the different types of letter. Draw up a chart for each group covering:

  • Address — business or private?
  • Greeting — formal or informal?
  • Style of letter — friendly or business?
  • What is the message?
  • How does the letter end?

This will allow the children to find out for themselves the differences between formal and informal letters.

This could be followed by a discussion of the type of letters the children or their families write. How many occasions can they think of which would deserve a letter to be written? For example:

  • Letters of congratulation
  • Exchanging news
  • Writing to friends
  • Letters saying sorry for doing something wrong
  • Making appointments
  • Asking for information
  • Dealing with banks or stores
  • Letters to family members who live some way away
  • Letters to Santa Claus
  • Letters showing how much you appreciate someone
  • Letters responding to someone who has had bad news — showing how much you care by trying to share their sadness

In each case the children should decide what type of letter would be most appropriate in each case — formal or informal? Draw up a chart for each group.

These are sometimes known as business letters. They are written in a strictly formal style. Such letters are always written on an A4 (8” x 11”) sheet of paper. They can be folded three times so that the address to which the letter is being sent can appear in the window of a business envelope. The layout is always the same.

  • The senders address is put at the top right hand side
  • Include telephone number and email if available
  • The address of the person receiving the letter goes on the left hand side below the sender’s address
  • Greeting — Dear Sir or Madam, or To Whom It May Concern. You can use the titles Miss, Mrs. or Mr. if you know the name of the person to whom you are writing
  • The message
  • Complimentary close — Yours faithfully (when you don’t know the person’s name), or Yours sincerely (when you know the person’s name to whom you’re writing)
  • Write name in block letters (this is to ensure that the person receiving the letter knows exactly who has sent it. Signatures may not be very clear)

Typical layout of a formal letter

Typical layout of a formal letter

These are letters to friends and relations, or people you know well. Structure:

  • The sender’s address should always appear on the top right hand corner of the page.
  • Greeting — There are several variations that can be used depending on how well you know the person: Dear Mary, Hi Mary, Greetings
  • Complimentary close — short comment, for example Love, Lots of love, With thanks, See you soon

Typical layout of an informal letter

Sample Informal Letter

Tips for writing good letters

  • Make sure that they are well written. It can be very annoying for someone to have to struggle to read handwriting. Always use your best and clearest handwriting.
  • Make sure all your contact details are clearly written down at the top of the letter. If they are not, then you might not get a reply. The correct address is essential.
  • Think about what you want to say. If necessary make some notes on a separate sheet of paper first. This will ensure that you do not forget anything.
  • Think about to whom you are writing the letter. Use the right style of writing and language — formal or informal, business like or friendly.
  • Lay out your letter using paragraphs. This makes it easier for the reader.

Suitable for school, children ages 7-9

These are formal letters and messages need to be precise and detailed, covering all the required information. Two types of letters can be undertaken — a letter requesting information; and a reply providing it.

Out in the Milky Way, there is an alien curious about Earth. He writes a letter asking for information about liquids and gases. These do not exist on his planet and he finds it hard to understand what they are.

Write a letter explaining what liquids and gases are. How do they work? What examples could be included? What would be confusing about them? This could link to your science curriculum and could act as a revision exercise giving an opportunity for a discussion about gases and liquids.

The following day, give the children a thank you letter from the alien!

You could link up with another class in the school. One class could write letters of inquiry. These would be delivered to the second class for answering.

Suitable for school, children ages 5-7 and 7-9

Thank you letters are very important and can be used in lots of ways: thanking organisations for helping, thanking people for helping you, thanking someone for a lovely time. They make a good follow up exercise after receiving presents or going on a visit.

Your class has just been out on a school visit to a farm. Write a thank you letter to the farmer. You will need to say thank you and how much you enjoyed the visit. Give some examples of what you enjoyed best about the day? Was it feeding the lambs? Pond dipping? Seeing the young animals?

Everyone likes receiving invitations. Receiving a hand written letter asking you to a party or a special event makes you feel very special.

Discuss what type of event might create a need to write letters of invitation. There are plenty of examples — birthday parties, Christmas parties, a visit to a beach with friends; going out to a farm or to the cinema, a wedding or when a new baby is christened; or simply inviting a friend to stay overnight at your house.

Choose a special event and write a letter inviting a friend. What do you need to include in the letter so that they have all the necessary information? You need to be clear on the date and the time, as well as the location. Your friend would be very upset if he or she went to the wrong place. Does he or she need to bring anything with them? Does he or she need to be collected at a set time? Will outdoor clothing be needed if the weather is bad? How will your friend reach the location of the event? Should a parent bring them or will you provide transport?

Remember to ask them to reply saying yes or no. Give a date by which you must have their reply. This is important if food and drink are being provided, or if you need to know exactly how many people are coming.

Suitable for school or home, children ages 5-7 and 7-9

When might a letter of complaint be sent? It might be when someone has done something wrong. Sometimes people write letters to organisations or the newspapers to complain about litter or poor service.

Just imagine what Mr. Bear must have been thinking at the end of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. A naughty girl had broken into his home, eaten his porridge; broken a chair and then gone to sleep on his child’s bed. Then she had run away without even saying sorry when the bears came back.

Write a letter of complaint from Mr. Bear to the parents of Goldilocks. What would he say? He would need to get his complaint across very strongly. There would be a list of Goldilocks’ misdeeds. He would ask for an apology. Would he ask for payment for the broken chair? Would he ask for action to be taken against Goldilocks? Discuss the various possibilities with the children. What might he ask? Would it be a formal or informal letter?

Every year children write letters to Santa Claus, asking for special toys at Christmas time. But how many children think about Santa Claus himself? What is his life like? What are the problems of living amid all that snow and ice?

This is an exercise that could involve two classes within a school. Both classes should prepare for the task by listening to some unusual letters. J R Tolkein wrote a lovely book entitled Letters from Father Christmas. Every December a letter would appear telling wonderful tales of life at the North Pole — how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Santa Claus’s house.

Children in the younger class should write letters to Santa. They should ask about life at the North Pole. What do they think it is like? What sort of characters live there? How does Santa Claus occupy his time for the rest of the year? Consider how they would feel living in a land of snow and ice all year round? Would they want a holiday somewhere warmer?

Once the letters are written, gather them up and take them to an older group of children. Give each child a letter and ask them to write a reply. This would give them the opportunity to use their imagination and create imaginative responses, possibly little stories about life at the North Pole. They could also add in their own ideas. But care should be taken to make sure that all the questions in the original letters are answered.

Finally, take the answers back to the original class for reading and discussing.

These are letters that aim to pass on an opinion or a message. Examples can be easily obtained from local newspapers or from children’s magazines such as DK Find Out or Aquila. They are written slightly differently to normal letters and are always addressed Dear Sir, or Dear — (name of magazine).

These are letters that are directed at a wide audience — anyone who happens to read it. The sender never gets a direct letter back through the post. Sometimes people are so interested in a letter, which has appeared in a magazine that they want to express their opinions. So they then write a letter to the magazine giving their comments.

So what might go into a letter to a newspaper or magazine? It might be a request — could you provide more stories about skate boarding, or nature? It might be a way of thanking people for providing help. Sometimes letters to local newspapers are used to thank people who helped find a lost dog or help after an accident; but who did not leave their names. By writing to the paper, the sender hopes that the message will reach the people concerned. Sometimes such letters are used to express opinions such as on climate change, treatment of animals, poor services, not enough buses, and human rights.

Letters of this kind need to be very precise. Arguments should be clearly made. Requests for action should be clearly indicated. From reading the letter, everyone should know exactly what the sender is asking.

A major issue is recycling and energy conservation. Everyone is trying to reduce the amount of energy we use. Look at all the reasons why energy conservation is so important. Then, write a letter to a paper or magazine saying why you believe we should avoid wasting energy. Give examples of how energy can be saved? What measures should we take in our homes or schools? Could anything more be done?

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My Child magazine. (2007). Letter Writing Resource Pack. London, U.K. Author. Retrieved February 26, 2008, from

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5th grade writing doesn’t have to be a struggle! This blog post will provide all of my best tips and ideas for teaching your fifth graders to succeed as writers.

I’ve had classes where writing was a struggle allll yearrrr longggg. I’ve also had classes where I’d swear my students were one step away from writing professionally.

Your groups will never be the same and that’s ok. Just roll with it!

Take heart in the fact that when students leave your class at the end of the year, they will be MUCH better writers than when they entered in the fall.

No matter how good (or bad) my students are at writing when 5th grade begins, we always start at the very beginning and work on writing strong sentences.

This post will give you a step-by-step breakdown of how I help my students move from dull to dazzling sentences: How to Help Your Students Write Better Sentences

Once they’ve got the hang of writing an excellent sentence, then we move on. Your class may move slowly or quickly but be sure to watch their writing closely for clues that you may need to slow down.

You need to know where you’re going to know how you should plan the journey. So, the next section lays out my end-of-the-year goals for my 5th grade writers. Everything I do all year leads to the completion of these goals.

End of the year goals for 5th grade writers

My end-of-the-year goals for my 5th grade writers….

By the time my students walk out of my classroom for the last time…

1. I want them to be able to efficiently organize their ideas and plan/write a five paragraph essay.

2. I want my students to be able to construct narrative, informative, and opinion essays.

3. I want my students to be able to choose appropriate sources and write a simple research report. 

4. I want my students to be able to closely read two paired passages and write an essay in response to a prompt. 

If you’re looking for a hyperlinked pdf version of my pacing and sequence for 5th grade writing, click the link below to have it sent to your email address. As a bonus, you’ll become a member of my weekly VIP email club just for upper elementary teachers. 🙂

5th grade writing samples

Obtain a Writing Sample!  

Give students a simple prompt and ask for a response in a paragraph or two. Emphasize to students that you are not grading writing samples for grammar, spelling, or structure. You are interested in the quality of their ideas. 

This writing sample will be valuable as the year goes on. Your students will improve so much that their first samples will (hopefully) be pathetic compared to their new, improved writing pieces.

I usually whip out their first samples after we’ve written a few five paragraph essays. Students feel inspired to keep growing their writing skills when they see how far they’ve come in just a few months. 

Example Writing Sample Prompts: 

  • Describe a talent or characteristic that makes you unique and different.
  • Tell about a time when you set a goal for yourself and reached that goal.
  • Pretend you live in a society where children are required to choose their future career paths in the 5th grade. What path would you choose? Explain.

5th grade writing reference notebooks

Create Writing Reference Notebooks with students! 

I’ll admit it – I’m a little obsessed with writing reference notebooks. We use composition notebooks to create these amazing sources of knowledge and we use them all year long. 

So, where do we start with creating writing reference notebooks?

The beginning section of students’ notebooks hold reference materials. I want students to have plenty of resources at their fingertips to improve their sentence writing, including alternatives for overused words and my specialty, sparkle words. Sparkle words are words that are just a little bit special and make my students’ writing shine, like scandalous, embrace, and intriguing.

Other ways that my students use their writing reference notebooks:

  • Writing journal entries
  • Creating a personal thesaurus
  • Writing topics & ideas list
  • Taking notes on writing skills lessons
  • Writing first drafts of longer assignments

This resource will give you an idea of the printable pages that I use for students’ notebooks: Writing Interactive Notebook – Reference Pages

Do I take grades on students’ writing reference notebooks? Not really. I want these notebooks to be a safe space for students to jot ideas and take risks with their first drafts. I do sometimes take a participation grade on their notebooks. This encourages students to keep their notebooks organized and up to date.

5th grade sentence writing

Start with sentences!  

When teaching 5th grade, you can expect students to start the year writing complete sentences, right?! No, sorry. Whether it’s the long break or maybe your students’ 4th grade teachers never required a lick of writing, your 5th graders will often begin the year with less-than-stellar sentences. 

So, I just plan to start with sentences first every year. We work on building and expanding sentences for about two weeks. Yes, two weeks probably seems like a really long time, but spectacular sentences are the foundation for creating great writers.

To improve my students’ sentences, I take the basic, simple sentences that students write and we work on adding more specific details and interest. First, I give students a list of five nouns and ask them to write one sentence using each noun.

I usually get sentences similar to these:

  • Pie is my favorite dessert.
  • My dad’s car is red.
  • I wear my jacket when it is cold.
  • This school is a nice place to learn.
  • The tree is tall.

This is where I want students to get in their sentence-writing before moving on:

  • Pecan, cherry, apple, or pumpkin… any type of pie is delicious!
  • My dad spends his Saturdays washing and shining up his candy apple red Jeep.
  • A puffy, hooded jacket is the first thing I reach for on chilly mornings.
  • My school, North Hills Elementary, has the best teachers and students.
  • The tall Redwood tree in my front yard is a welcome sight to visitors and makes my house look spectacular.

Students should write every single day!

My students write every single day!  

I vividly remember being in 5th grade myself and writing long papers on the most boring topics ever, like “The Science of Light” and “The History of Mapmaking.” Snooze fest! I vowed to never do that to my students. Instead, I took a different route.

Students absolutely need to learn to write full reports and five paragraph essays, but they don’t need to do this every week. They do, however, need to continually practice writing. I find that if I make writing assignments engaging, my students don’t complain and actually seem to enjoy writing.

I assign Weekly Writing Choice Boards . This writing has made all the difference in my classroom! Students are now excited about writing class. They see writing as a treat and a fun way to express their thoughts and opinions.

I hand out a new choice board every week and students must complete three assignments from the board. I don’t grade these on perfect grammar, spelling, or punctuation, instead I look for ideas and effort. Even imperfect writing practice will improve your students’ writing skills tremendously!

Enter your first name and email address below for a free set of 6 Weekly Writing Choice Boards! The pdf file will be sent directly to your inbox. As a bonus, you’ll become a member of my weekly VIP email club just for upper elementary teachers. 🙂

If you teach social studies in addition to writing, this blog post will give you a bunch of engaging social studies journal entries that will help you tie social studies into your writing instruction.

Teach your 5th grade students to proofread and edit!

Train students in proofreading and editing!  

Student need to practice proofreading and editing their writing (and the writing of other students) near the beginning of the school year.

Repeatedly practicing the steps of the proofreading/editing process will help your students to internalize this procedure. You’ll find that they will start to catch their mistakes earlier and more independently.

I find it valuable to establish and consistently use a common “proofreading language” in my classroom. It takes a little time up front to teach students the markings and their meanings but having a common system for proofreading will save loads of time throughout the school year.

This resource will give you an idea of the proofreading marks and practice that I use in my classroom: Proofreading and Editing Activity Pack

Asking your students to proofread and edit their own writing is a must but it’s also a good thing to have students pair up and look over a partner’s writing also. Your students will receive valuable feedback on their writing, editing ideas, and they’ll get to see some writing styles that are a little different from their own.

Teach 5 paragraph essays one piece at a time!

Teach five paragraph essays one piece at a time! 

Simple Paragraphs

Once my students are stellar sentence writers, we move to simple paragraphs. The simple paragraphs that I use with students consist of a topic sentence, three detail sentences, and a closing sentence.

Starting with simple paragraphs is much less threatening than jumping straight into five paragraph essays, so I find that spending some time helping students write excellent simple paragraphs is the perfect bridge into essays.

Additionally, we color-code our simple paragraphs. This allows students to think critically about what sentence types they have written and provides a visual for students (and for me) to see that all required parts of the paragraph are included.

The color-code I use with students:

  • Topic sentence – green
  • 3 detail sentences – yellow
  • Closing sentence – red

Planning and Writing Body Paragraphs

Once students are able to write great simple paragraphs, we dive into the planning and writing of body paragraphs.

This isn’t too much of a jump for students because the body paragraphs are structured similarly to the simple paragraphs that we have practiced over and over. The only difference is that they are using one prompt to write three body paragraphs.

Many teachers think they have to start with the first paragraph of the essay, the introduction paragraph. This isn’t what I recommend. Starting by teaching students to write the three body paragraphs helps to steer the rest of the essay.

Adding an Introduction Paragraph

Now that students are able to write their three body paragraphs, it’s time to add the introduction paragraph.

The introduction paragraph contains a hook, commentary, and a thesis sentence.

The hook is a sentence (or two) that “hooks” readers and builds interest in the upcoming essay. I teach my students several types of hooks, including quotes, questions, bold statements, or sharing a memory.

After the hook, I ask students to write a sentence or two of commentary on the hook or on the prompt in general. This helps to “bulk up” their introduction paragraph a bit and make it more interesting.

The final part of the introduction paragraph is the thesis sentence. Because students already learned to write the body paragraphs, crafting a thesis sentence is so much easier.

The formula for writing a thesis sentence: Restate the prompt briefly + detail 1 + detail 2 + detail 3.

Additionally, I teach transition teams at this point. Students need to use a transition word or phrase at the beginning of each body paragraph, so that’s where transition teams come in. Transition teams are sets of three transition words or phrases that work well together.

Examples of transition teams:

  • First, Second, Finally
  • To begin, To continue, To end
  • One reason, Another reason, A final reason

Adding a Conclusion Paragraph

When conclusion paragraph day finally arrives, my students are so excited because they can finally write an entire five paragraph essay.

In my opinion, conclusion paragraphs are super easy to teach because they only have two parts. Here’s the conclusion paragraph formula: Write the thesis sentence in a different way + add a closing thought.

I allow students to be creative with their closing thoughts. I tell them that this is the final thought that your readers will take with them, so it needs to relate well to your entire essay while being engaging and thought-provoking for readers. Some examples of closing thoughts are calls to action, quotes, personal opinions, and brief personal experiences.

Teach, Discuss, & Practice with Rubrics

I inform my students that from this point on in their school journey, they will be graded with rubrics fairly often, so this is a good time to learn about rubrics and become familiar with them.

I create or find five paragraph essay samples that are good, bad, and in-between. We read and examine the samples as a class and circle the applicable parts of the rubric. If students are able to grade a few assignments using a rubric, it’s not this unknown, scary thing anymore. 

Are you grading every single word and making a million corrections on students’ essays? I give you permission to stop doing that! 🙂

You are going to burn yourself out and get to where you hate grading and teaching writing. To be honest, your students will not become better writers when their papers are marked all over with suggestions in the margins.

Help! I need more support…

Please visit the following blog post for in-depth explanations and examples of my five paragraph essay teaching and grading process: 

Tips for Teaching and Grading Five Paragraph Essays

This resource will provide you with a full, scaffolded unit that will help you to teach the five paragraph essay process to students! Five Paragraph Essay Instructional Unit

Teaching students to write narrative, opinion, and informative essays

Narrative, Informative, and Opinion Essays

As much as we’d like to just have our students write simple, straightforward five paragraph essays all year, that’s just not feasible.

But I promise, once your students can crank out those five paragraph essays on simple topics, moving to other modes of writing is no sweat! 

In my classroom, we spend time learning to write opinion essays, narrative essays, and informative essays. 

I start with opinion writing because my students have a lot of opinions, haha! We channel those opinions into five paragraph essay format. 🙂

Teaching research reports to 5th grade students

Research Reports

The skills involved in writing a research report are valuable for 5th graders. They need to be able to judge the reliability of a source and cite their sources properly. 

Research reports also teach students to organize their ideas, take notes, make an outline, write a draft, and create a final report. 

I’d like to point you to the following blog post where I detailed my entire process for teaching research reports.

The Step-By-Step Guide to Teaching Research Reports

Teaching paired passages to 5th grade students

Paired Passages

5th graders are too young to compare two passages and write a response. Right?! 

No, this is not true at all. I think that reading paired passages and using them to craft a written response is a valuable skill for 5th graders. 

Steps to analyzing paired passages and writing an essay to answer a prompt:

First, dissect the prompt.

Second, closely read the paired texts.

Third, organize thoughts using the prompt.

The following blog post explains my paired passage writing steps in detail. Take a moment to check it out. You’ll be glad you did! 

How to Teach Writing Using Paired Passages

Sequence & Pacing for Teach 5th Grade Writing

My Sequence & Pacing for Teaching 5th Grade Writing

Don’t stress! This sequence and pacing guide is hyperlinked and ready to be sent to your email address. Go to the bottom of this blog post to request the guide.

1st Month of School

We start school in the middle of the month, so I only have two weeks to teach during the first month of school.

This is the rundown for the remainder of the month:

Month 1, Week 3

The first week of the school year is all about teaching and practicing procedures. Teach it right or teach it all year! 🙂

Classroom Procedures – I recommend you check out this blog post:  5 Tips for Establishing Procedures in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Welcome Activities –  Welcome to 5th Grade: First Week of School Activities

Blog Post – Back to School Writing Prompts for 5th Graders

Month 1, Week 4

During this week, I review and continue practicing procedures with students but we do go ahead and start working on writing.

I establish my expectations and procedures for my students’ Weekly Writing Choice Boards.

We set up writing notebooks together, including the table of contents, cover page, and an  About the Author  page. 

Obtain a writing sample

We start working on improving sentences.

2nd Month of School

Month 2, Week 1

We continue working on improving sentences.

Start proofreading/editing instruction and practice.

Month 2 , Week 2

Review the process for writing excellent sentences.

Finish proofreading/editing instruction and practice.

Month 2, Weeks 3-4

Writing simple paragraphs (include color-code)

3rd Month of School

Month 3, Weeks 1-2

Planning & writing body paragraphs (include color-code)

Month 3, Weeks 3-4

Teach introduction paragraphs

Writing introduction plus body paragraphs (include color code)

Transition teams

4th Month of School

Month 4, Weeks 1-2

Teach students how to write conclusion paragraphs.

Students will write their first full five paragraph essays this week.

Month 4, Weeks 3-4

Write 5 paragraph essays with a variety of basic prompts.

Have students proofread/edit other students’ essays.

Provide mini-lessons on grammar structure or other issues you are noticing in students’ writing.

5th Month of School

This is where our winter break falls, so I only have two weeks to teach this month.

This is a great time to review what we’ve been working on all year and assign some fun journal prompts.

Also, writing mini-lessons are good fillers for this time.

This Winter Writing Project is a student favorite right before winter break!

6th Month of School

Month 6, Week 1

When we come back from winter break, I like to teach the research report process. I spend a week teaching the process and giving students time to research while I’m there to help.

Month 6, Week 2

Student complete their research reports, including outlines, citing sources, and etc.

I ask my students to do super quick presentations on their research topics. It’s 1-2 minutes max. I don’t want them to read their reports aloud because that’s boring. Instead, I want them to quickly highlight what they learned about their topics and what was fascinating to them.

Month 6, Week 3

We review the five paragraph essay process and write/proofread/edit an essay with a simple prompt.

Month 6, Week 4

I start opinion writing this week. You’ll find that students will slide into opinion writing easily because they already know five paragraph essay structure.

7th Month of School

Month 7, Week 1

Continue working on opinion writing. By the end of this week, students should be able to write an opinion essay using a prompt.

Month 7, Weeks 2-3

We spend two weeks on narrative writing. By the end of the second week, students should be able to write a narrative essay using a prompt.

Month 7, Week 4

This week, I teach the process of writing an informative essay.

8th Month of School

Month 8, Week 1

Continue working on informative essays. Students should be able to write an informative essay using a prompt by the end of this week.

Month 8, Weeks 2-3

Teach students how to write an essay using paired passages.

For more information on how I teach the steps above, visit this blog post: How to Teach Writing Using Paired Passages

Month 8, Week 4

Now that students know the process of using paired passages, I provide a set of paired passages and ask students to answer prompts in a variety of genres, like opinion, narrative, informative, poetry, and etc.

This resource makes it easy:

Paired Passages with Writing Prompts and Activities Bundle

9th Month of School

Month 9, Week 1

Continue working on using paired passages to write in a variety of genres.

Talk about last minute standardized testing tips to help students with their writing tests.

The rest of the month is taken up with standardized testing, so I do a lot of review activities, free writing, and etc.

I do have a set of suspense stories that my students love to write during this month. Check them out here: Suspense Stories Bundle

10th Month of School

During this month, we are wrapping up the year. Students participate in multiple activities and field trips, so there’s not much teaching time.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, don’t dismay. Instructing young, inexperienced writers is a challenge. Just work on one step at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself and your students. Once you’ve taught writing for a year or two, you’ll feel like an old pro. Promise! 

How I Teach 5th Grade Writing

If you’d like to keep this blog post for later, simply save this pin to your teacher Pinterest board!

Are you that teacher saying, “oh my goodness, please just give me the print ‘n go pages so that i can start teaching writing tomorrow” it’s all here for you:.

writing lessons for 5th grade

I’m not a teacher, perhaps in my heart I am. I am an older Mom who adopted late in life as God gave us our newborn in our 50’s! By His grace, we are healthy, fit, youngish 50’s LOL! I love your stuff and have always supplemented Fi’s education., for I find the California standards quite low. Now that I have her in a college-prep school (5th Grade) I find she is much more prepared because of your wisdom! Thank you. Sophia Joy is someone who has always had to work hard at school, but it is paying off! Thank you and God bless you richly for being so generous with your wisdom,it will all come back to you 100-fold! Sincerely, Susan, Sophia Joy’s Mom

Thank you so much, Susan! You certainly have a heartwarming story with your precious girl 🙂

Hello When you do the back to school journal prompts, where do you have students complete these? On single paper, google classroom?

Hi Sarah! Usually, I have students complete the prompts in their social studies interactive notebooks. This year, however, we were virtual at the beginning of the year, so I had students type their entries onto Google Docs.

Hi! I am a new 5th grade teacher, and I’m wondering if your school uses a particular writing curriculum? Your website has been so helpful – thank you!!

Hi Jenny! We don’t use a particular writing curriculum at my school. I use my own resources to teach writing. Please reach out to me at [email protected] if I can help or answer any questions for you 🙂

Do you have any resources in Spanish?

Hi Danielle! The only resources I have in Spanish are my Parent’s Guide to Reading resources, grades K-5.

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Teaching with Jennifer Findley

Upper Elementary Teaching Blog

February 5, 2017 | 37 Comments | Filed Under: Writing & Grammar

How to Teach Writing in 5th Grade

Let’s be real for a moment. During my first year teaching I did a terrible, horrible, rotten job at teaching writing. My students (3rd graders at the time) were not assessed on writing, and I really didn’t know how to teach writing at that point in my career (especially since my students seriously struggled with all things literacy when they came to me).

I remember teaching it and having some fun lessons that I am sure helped the students a little. But mostly, we just aimlessly read read alouds, wrote to prompts, and shared our writing. I “did” all the right things but I didn’t do them very purposefully or effectively. I honestly feel like I should write a formal apology to my first group of students.

Fast forward a few years and a grade level change, and I finally feel like I have a handle on teaching writing. I am super purposeful and everything I do now has a reason behind it. Though my instruction is still not perfect (is anything in teaching ever perfect?), I feel much more confident that I am growing my students as writers and helping them to love writing.

In this post, I want to share how I teach writing in 5th grade (very applicable to 3rd and 4th grade as well).

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

I spend approximately 9 weeks on each main genre of writing (narrative, persuasive, and informational/expository).  I teach the writing genres in this order: personal narrative, fictional narrative, persuasive, how-to informational, compare and contrast, descriptive/explanatory informational.

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

Closer Look at Each 9 Weeks

Now, let’s take a closer look at what each of those 9 weeks would look like:

Two Weeks Explicitly Teaching Genre

I spend the first two weeks of my pacing explicitly teaching the aspects of the genre we are studying and writer’s craft as it relates to the genre we are studying. We do this by reading mentor texts and making charts about what we notice the author does well. These noticings then turn into mini-lessons. You can read more about how I come up with writing mini-lessons (and the three types of mini-lessons) by clicking here .

During these two weeks, the students are writing their first essays in this genre, but it is very guided. For example, we would read mentor texts to look for good beginnings, then we create a chart of good beginnings, then we choose a writing topic from our lists (read more about that here ), and practice writing good beginnings. I may have the students write 2-3 beginnings, then chose their favorite. We also spend a lot of time sharing during this time so the students can apply what they are learning and hear lots of examples from their peers.

Three W eeks of Writing Based on Lists and Specific Lessons Based on Students’ Writing  

After we have learned and applied all the strategies for a genre to one piece of writing, we are ready to try out some more. In this three week period, the students choose more topics from their lists to write about.

As the students are writing, they are referring to charts and examples from our previous mini-lessons to help them apply what they have learned. I also do a lot of conferences during this time, but mostly lean-in conferences because I want the students writing and trying out the new strategies.

The mini-lessons during this time frame are very specific to the students’ writing. While I am completing my lean-conferences, I jot down notes of struggles and strengths. At this point in the instruction, I am writing notes about conventions and mechanics for future mini-lessons, but my main focus is on the writer’s craft and getting the students to write and try out the genre.

At this point, it is also clear which students need extensive re-teaching. About 2-3 times a week, I pull small groups for re-teaching. However, I typically only pull the students who are seriously struggling at this point in instruction.

Three Weeks of Writing to On-Demand Prompts

At this point in our pacing, I have taught a lot of writing craft skills, and the students have several essays, applying what they have learned (usually 3-5 essays by this point). Now, it is time to get into perfecting their conventions and practicing on demand prompts .

The lessons during this three week period are very mini and focus mostly on conventions and mechanics. These lessons come from what I see as a need during my lean-in conferences and what I know will help move my students beyond their current writing (varying sentence lengths, using complex sentences, using introductory phrases, etc).

Also during this time, we typically have a longer share time, so the students can hear each other’s writing, give and get feedback, and learn even more writing strategies to use in their own writing.

As I mentioned above, this time is also spent primarily writing to on-demand prompts. These can be a simple prompt, a prompt that also uses a text stimulus (or paired text stimulus), or a prompt in response to a mentor text. This three week period is important because the students learn to write about topics that are not their choosing and they learn to stay on topic and follow the expectations of a prompt (which I explicitly teach them). However, I don’t recommend writing to prompts all the time because it doesn’t promote a love of writing with most students.

Remember how I said I did mostly lean-in conferences in the above section? Well, at this point, I have enough data to group my students into small groups for re-teaching or extension lessons. During independent writing time, I regularly pull small groups (about 1-2 a day) for reteaching. I also mix in independent conferences as well, as needed.

One Week of Publishing

For our final week in a genre, my students choose their favorite piece, meet with me for an independent conference and a final revise and edit, and then type it. We only publish (by typing) one story in each genre. However, we revise and edit every piece that we write. Ultimately, the students decide which of their essays are worth publishing. This essay is also taken as a final grade.


By the end of the 9-week period, my students have usually written around 6-8 essays in that genre. My expectation is an essay per week, and I do have them turn them in. I use these essays (along with my conferences) to guide my mini-lessons and reteaching groups.

Here is a recap of each 9-Week Period:

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

Note : I do modify this a bit for informational writing since I explicitly teach how-to writing, compare and contrast writing, and then explanatory/descriptive informational writing separately and then together.

What Does a Typical Writing Lesson Look Like?

The total time I have for writing is 60 minutes (I will share a modified schedule for 30 and 45 minutes, too). Here is how I typically segment my writing time. However, from reading the above section, you will notice that sometimes mini-lessons or share times are shorter or longer, depending on where we are in our pacing.

  • 15-20 minute mini lesson
  • 30-40 minutes for independent writing and conferences/ small groups
  • 5 minutes for closing, sharing, and reflecting

Modified Schedule for 45 Minutes

  • 15 minute mini-lesson
  • 25 minutes for independent writing and conferences/small groups

Modified Schedule for 30 Minutes

For 30 minutes, I recommend more of an A/B type schedule. Something like this:

A Schedule: – 15 mini-lesson and 15 minutes of independent writing where the students are directly applying the strategy to their writing

B Schedule: 20 minutes independent writing (continued from Monday) and conferences and 10 minutes for closing and sharing

Monday : A Schedule Tuesday : B Schedule Wednesday : A Schedule Thursday : B Schedule

Friday : Whichever schedule you need to meet the needs of your students. I have found that it is better to end the week with more independent writing to apply all they have learned. Likewise, I prefer to begin the week with the mini-lesson.

Materials I Use to Teach Writing

  • Mentor texts- For mentor texts, I use tradebooks (picture books and excerpts from longer works), released exemplars from state assessment, student stories (shared with permission), and teacher-written stories. You can read how I used one mentor text during my persuasive writing unit by clicking here .
  • Anchor charts – As a class, we create anchor charts for almost every writing mini-lesson I teach. Those anchor charts then provide an anchor for the students while they are writing. Want to see charts that I used to guide some my persuasive writing mini lessons? Click here to go straight to the post .
  • Student reference charts – My students use their writing notebooks to keep their writing lists and to keep reference charts for almost every lesson that I teach. We create an anchor chart together and then I give the students a printable copy of the chart that is already made or that I make after the fact. These charts are glued into their writing notebook and they refer to them regularly as they write.
  • Sentence stems -Most of my students are nowhere near proficient writers when they come to me. One way that I support my students is through sentence stems. Based on the needs of my students, I may provide sentence stems for beginnings, adding more details, using transitional phrases, or conclusions. The best part is that the stems give the students much needed confidence in their writing. As they become more confident, they will move away from using the sentence stems and create more original and unique sentences.

What About Early Finishers?

Since I use a workshop model and the students work through the writing process primarily at their own pace, I do need to have expectations and procedures in place for early finishers. Here are the three different procedures I have put in place over the years for my students who finish a writing piece early:

1. The easiest one is already embedded in my instruction: the students choose another writing topic from the list of topics we generate at the beginning of a new genre.

2. The other option is to request a peer conference with another student who is already finished. If you choose this, you need to have a clear procedure in my place for finding or requesting a student, what to do if no one is ready to hold a peer conference with you, and you need to explicitly teach the students how to hold peer conferences.

3. For some students, they need a bit more structure when it comes to choosing an “early finisher” activity.  This is where my writing choice boards come in. I have one choice board per genre that I teach. As we learn about a genre, I print the choice board and place it on a ring. Over time, the ring will have several choice boards. Early finishers may grab a ring of boards (I make about 5-6) and choose any prompt from any of the choice boards.

Writing choice boards are a great way to get students about writing. Click through to read more about these choice boards and other ways to get your students to love writing.

These writing choice boards are available in my TeachersPayTeachers store. The resource includes 7 writing choice boards in all! Click here to see them now.

Preparing for Writing Assessments

The question I always get is: How do you use a workshop model and still prepare your students for very “unworkshop” like writing assessments? The answer is that I embed it throughout in an authentic way.  Let’s take a look at an example:

My students are expected to write essays in response to two texts. So, when my students are learning how to write compare and contrast essays, we pull up information, articles, and read alouds for them to integrate their information from. This is authentically preparing them for the writing assessment in a way that still engages them in the writing.

Here is another example:

While we are writing persuasive essays, we may read two articles from two different perspectives on the topic we are writing. Then we will use those articles (and our own reasons and experiences) to craft a persuasive argument. But I never do it in a this is “test prep” way. I always try to authentically and naturally introduce the text as a way to support and strengthen our writing-this makes a HUGE difference with the students’ mindset.

Another way that I prepare my students is by taking the last nine weeks of my pacing (or 6 weeks if the writing test falls sooner) to review and practice all three genres of writing together. I think it is very important that the students are exposed to writing in all three genres together and not just in isolation. This helps solidify the differences among the three types. A resource I use to jump-start my review of all three main types of writing is my Writing Test Prep Resource.

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

This resource has sorts, prompts, practice printables, teaching posters, and more. It is a great way to review all three genres of writing and teach students how to analyze and respond to writing prompts. I use this resource at the beginning of my  last nine weeks of instruction. It lasts about a week to go through the resources and review all the genres.

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

After using that resource , we move into more rigorous text stimulus writing (as required by my state assessment). However, because I have embedded this type of writing in my instruction all year, this is nothing the students haven’t already seen or done.  The activities from the Writing Test Prep Resource then go into a test prep writing centers to continue reviewing before the day of the test.

I plan to write another blog post about preparing your students for writing assessments all year (and in authentic, engaging ways). Stay tuned for that!

Is how you teach writing similar or very different from how I teach? I would love to hear your thoughts on writing instruction. Let me know in the comments.

P.S. Do you want to see how I teach reading? Click here to read a detailed post that breaks down how I teach reading in 5th grade.

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This post shares practical and realistic tips to help teachers get students excited about writing and enjoying it. Must read for writing teachers!

Reader Interactions


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February 9, 2017 at 10:42 am

Thanks for this post! It is great to get a look behind the curtain into the way other teachers teach writing. Lots of schools are rolling out blanket approaches now and I really think it is best to leave it to the person that knows the class best – the teacher!

That said it helps no end to learn about other people’s practice.

Love your blog 🙂

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February 13, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Thank you for your kind words! Yes, it is great to have choice and to see how other teachers teach. I am always saddened when I hear that so many teachers don’t have the choice to do what they know is best for their students.

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February 16, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Thanks for sharing! It’s great to see what strategies and procedures other teachers are using in order to enhance what I’m doing with my students.

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February 18, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Hey I love this idea, what’s the best way or resource you have to get started!

February 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Hi Michelle, I am working on a resource for launching writers workshop, but it won’t be ready until next school year. Until then, I recommend Fountas and Pinnell Guiding Readers and Writers, which is where my philosophy and instruction is grounded.

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August 2, 2023 at 11:11 pm

Hi! Is a resource available?

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March 25, 2017 at 10:50 pm

I feel as if you are an answer to prayers, as a first year teacher of 5th grade, my writing instruction has not been successful as far as I can tell. I am nervous to the writing assessment, but I now have hope that I can make some changes and improve my teaching. Thank you for sharing your craft.

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March 30, 2017 at 10:42 pm

I definitely agree with your writing pacing. I like that you spend nine weeks on one genre. That makes total sense to me! My district requires us to teach all three genres, narrative, opinion, and informational, all in one trimester. There is just not enough time to really focus on one genre. I also agree that it is so important to use students’ own writing to guide instruction through mini-lessons. I’ve found this to be very valuable in my classroom.

April 1, 2017 at 11:09 am

So glad you found this helpful, Meghan!

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July 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Just a quick question- I loooove this format for teaching writing but just have a couple questions. How do you start the year? Do you just jump right in with narrative the first week, or do you teach any of the 6 traits? Or anything similar? Just curious how you map out the first few weeks with writing. Thanks!

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July 22, 2017 at 11:34 pm

This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your craft. Do you implement 6 + 1 writing traits at all? Or do you just do it without calling them that?

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August 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm

I have been teaching Lower Elementary for 17 years and am in my first year as a 5th grade teacher. The team I have joined has not been teaching writing and my background is writer’s workshop. This is a big help in figuring out how to implement Writer’s Workshop into my day since I’m going it alone.

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August 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for this. I have been struggling with writing instruction (last year was not good) and I have been searching for a post like this to help breakdown the workshop model. Thank you again for posting it! You are amazing.

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July 22, 2018 at 7:53 pm

My sentiments exactly!!!!

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August 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Hi!! First year 5th grade teacher but 13th year teacher. I can’ wait to really dive into this and read what great ideas you have!! My district uses a series and it lacks in some areas. I had a question about where you find inspiration for your mentor texts? Thanks

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September 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Thank you so much for sharing a modified schedule for 30 minutes!!!

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September 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Thank you for this post. I will take away much to break it in to smaller pieces for better organized conferences. I am curious though, what is a reasonable essay length to expect from a student? I would like to set a standard for a minimum on paper writing/typing page or word count for beginning year and end of year expectations. Maybe you have some reasonable amount you have expected for their age/grade level in each session and assessment? Some are gifted and can explain in detail their story, but putting into written form tends to stop up the creativity in my experience for a few.

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October 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Hi Jennifer,

Where do you get ideas for the on demand prompts that you use the last 3 weeks of the units? Thanks!

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November 14, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Thank you for this post! I just found your website, and have really enjoyed reading how you teach all your classes! I am new to 5th grade this year, and struggling to fit everything in. I work at a bilingual school, and I get one hour of English Literacy every day. In that time I am suppose to cover reading, writing, grammar, and spelling. Do you have any suggestions on how to divide the time?

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September 15, 2021 at 7:59 pm

I have that same questions. We are on a 9 period – 6 day rotation schedule with 2 groups we see ( AM and PM). Some days I see the kiddos for 80 mins and other days it could 120. Within that time frame some of those 80 min days its split. For example I have them for period 6 for 40 mins but don’t get them back until period 8 for another 40 mins. Any ideas on how to fit grammar, reading workshop, and writing workshop in would be HUGE! Thank you for your help.

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May 22, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Sister thanks for this sincere post you helped show me how to take responsibility for my teaching. I teach writing under some difficult situations 40 mins weekly. It started out as a special storytime/ shared reading/ read Aloud but and now creative writing. I have struggled for 4yrs and recently the Lord helped me to approach writing using Persuasive, narrative and expository. What about poetry? It gets confusing but reading your post helped out with some perspectives. God bless you dear.

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July 16, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Thank you so much for these tips and guides. I have been struggling to teach writing for five years now, especially with the way they expect students to cite text, use it appropriately and almost perfectly during their testing. Unfortunately at my school and most schools in my county writing is not taught until students get to fourth grade, where it is tested. In addition, the state does not release any mentor texts, only from the sampling year, which district personnel tell you to ignore as they are not good examples. I wanted to know where do you gather your mentor texts from? I love the idea of students learning from the other writers, but I don’t know where to find these resources. I would greatly appreciate any of your assistance. Thank you!

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November 11, 2018 at 7:53 pm

How would you differentiate for Learning Support Students in a 3rd Grade that can’t write a sentence independently?

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January 6, 2019 at 1:06 pm

I found this so helpful! Although I’ve taught for a number of years this is my first year teaching grade 5 writing. It was reassuring seeing your outline of the different genres of writing. We’ve done narrative and fictional writing so far. This gives me direction for the new year – persuasive writing. The links for anchor charts and mini lessons are so helpful – thank-you so much! I’m feeling inspired and excited to start up again after the break!

January 6, 2019 at 9:52 pm

Hi Jen, I am so glad you found this helpful! Thank you for your kind message!

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May 11, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you! This is very helpful! I teach 5th grade writing (and only writing-our students rotate and another teacher teaches reading) and started halfway through the school year. We just got a new writing “program” called SRSD for informational writing, and I really like it, but it’s more of a method of writing than a paced program, so this is really helpful for determining how much time to spend on each part. I have very limited resources currently for mentor texts, but use a lot of articles from Newsela- they have lots of articles on various topics and you can change the lexile level, which is really helpful! Since I don’t teach reading but all of our informational writing is based on texts, this has been a great resource!

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August 30, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Hi! I am absolutely in love with your resources. They have helped me tremendously! I was curious if you had resources similar to the reading/grammar resources for writing?

September 8, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Hi Brooke, I don’t for writing. For 5th grade language, I do have some resources which you can see here:

Thanks for asking!

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March 3, 2020 at 12:20 pm

HI there. I have been using a lot of your resources for ELA during this school year and decided to research how you teach writing. I have never been a very strong writing teacher and realize that I am doing my students a disservice in this area.

I need some ideas on how to do an effective writing review in 5 weeks time to prepare the students for the state assessment, which is at the end of April. Mind you, I have not been teaching writing as effectively as you have during the year. I currently have a 90 minute ELA block which includes reading, writing, grammar, etc. I think I may only be able to do 30, maybe 45 minutes per day.

What do you recommend? Feel free to email me your response if you would like.

Thanks so much!

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September 30, 2020 at 6:11 am

This article is EVERYTHING right know! I am currently teaching 4th Grade ELAR as a first year teacher, I am struggling to teach writing well! My student are all very low, and struggling to provide good writing- do you have any tips? Thanks for all writing this?

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March 10, 2021 at 10:49 am

I love every one of your resources and they have been a huge hit in my classroom. We have totally adopted your math centers and resources while I was departmentalized so I am eager to add in ELA when we go back to self-contained with our fifth graders. I would love to hear about how you organize the ELA instruction for students – how many notebooks, folders, what they are called, what gets turned in daily, weekly, how many and which ELA grades are weekly and which ones are final project grades. Love how real you are. Any attempt to add structure to this crazy ride of education is so greatly appreciated

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April 25, 2021 at 2:54 am

Hi Jennifer, I was happy to come across your Anchor Charts for persuasive essay on your website when searching on how to teach my son to write a persuasive essay. I would love to have your anchor charts for narrative and informative writings. Do you have a digital package I can purchase where you have the anchor charts information all together to help out homeschooling moms by any chance? Thank you.

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June 5, 2021 at 7:52 am

Love your resources and posts. Thank you! How do you balance reading and writing lessons? Through a week or another time period, what’s your schedule for when you teach writing and when you teach reading? Hoe do you successfully plan for both?

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August 4, 2021 at 8:36 am

Excellent information!- I am a tutor and was trying to gauge my pace with what typically happens in schools- I do not think you are typical- you are a 99%ile teacher I can tell- but still extremely helpful. Thank you so much!!!

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November 7, 2023 at 9:09 am

Not sure how much you read this post these days, but I wanted to put a question out there anyway. I am a fifth-grade teacher at a hybrid school. We plan lessons for 5 days but teach in our classrooms on M-W-F only. Parents teach at home T-TH. This has its own unique challenges. But teaching writing is the bane of my existence. We are forced to use a program called IEW. I hate it! Kids who have been on the program are some of our worst writers. But I have to use it. Have you ever heard of it? What we have is really not a curriculum either. So it leaves me pulling my hair out most days. Any advice on teaching writing when you are getting to teach 5 days?

November 7, 2023 at 10:33 am

I haven’t heard of that program, but that does sound so difficult! How are your students assessed in writing? Are they writing just to prompts or in response to texts? Feel free to send me an email to jennifer @ (no spaces)!

November 9, 2023 at 7:16 am

Thank you so much!!

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writing a letter 5th grade

Welcome friends! I’m Jennifer Findley: a teacher, mother, and avid reader. I believe that with the right resources, mindset, and strategies, all students can achieve at high levels and learn to love learning. My goal is to provide resources and strategies to inspire you and help make this belief a reality for your students. Learn more about me.

5th Grade Writing Worksheets

  • Kindergarten
  • All subjects

19 5th Grade Writing Worksheets

Active and passive sentences

In this language arts worksheet, your child learns about active and passive voice and gets practice rewriting sentences to change them from passive to active and vice versa.

Colons, semicolons, and dashes

In this grammar worksheet, your child learns how to write sentences using a colon, semicolon, or dash.

Compound sentences

Simple sentences can become compound sentences by adding a clause. In this writing worksheet, your child gets practice building and understanding simple, compound, and complex sentences.

Finding key points

In this reading worksheet, your child will read a short informational passage and then underline key points and answer questions about the language and content of the passage.

Following instructions

Can you do this experiment? In this worksheet, your child will read the instructions, put them in order by creating a flow chart, organize the elements of the experiment - and then do the experiment and write a report about it. Bonus: your child will do a little research to compare the experiment results with information from reference books or the internet.

Homophones and homographs

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have a different meaning. Homographs are words that sound the same and are spelled the same but have a different meaning. In this language arts worksheet, your child will fill in the missing homophones to complete pre-written sentences and then write sentences to convey each homograph's alternate meaning.

Homophones: fun with puns

Puns are jokes that rely on homophones for their humor. In this writing worksheet, your child will write homophones for 24 words and then use those words to write puns.

Making metaphors

How many metaphors can you find in this poem? In this language arts worksheet, your child learns to spot metaphors, determine their meaning from context, write them as similes, and decide which metaphors are most effective and why. Bonus: your child gets practice writing poetry using metaphors.


Can you find the mix-up? Malapropisms are words that are similar in sound and often confused. In this language arts worksheet, your child will identify the malapropism in each sentence and then rewrite each sentence using the correct word.

Poems: opposites

Silly opposites! In this language arts worksheet, your child gets to practice word play and figurative language by writing opposite words that are real - and some that are jokes.

  • Kindergarden

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  • Kindergarten
  • Greater Than Less Than
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Formal Letter Writing For Grade 5 Kids

Formal Letter Writing For Grade 5 Kids - Displaying top 8 worksheets found for this concept.

Some of the worksheets for this concept are Letter writing, Letter writing unit in the 3rd grade, Grade 5 writing, Grade 5 writing prompts, Letter writing informal letters friendly letter writing, Formal letter wc handout final, Putting pen to paper, Formal and informal sentences.

Found worksheet you are looking for? To download/print, click on pop-out icon or print icon to worksheet to print or download. Worksheet will open in a new window. You can & download or print using the browser document reader options.

1. Letter Writing

2. letter writing unit in the 3rd grade, 3. grade 5 writing, 4. grade 5 writing prompts -, 5. letter writing informal letters /friendly letter writing, 6. formal letter wc handout final -, 7. putting pen to paper, 8. formal and informal sentences.

  • Kindergarten
  • Greater Than Less Than
  • Measurement
  • Multiplication
  • Place Value
  • Subtraction
  • Punctuation
  • 1st Grade Reading
  • 2nd Grade Reading
  • 3rd Grade Reading
  • Cursive Writing
  • Alphabet Coloring
  • Animals Coloring
  • Birthday Coloring
  • Boys Coloring
  • Buildings Coloring
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Grade 5 Letter Writing

Displaying top 8 worksheets found for - Grade 5 Letter Writing .

Some of the worksheets for this concept are Letter writing work for grade 5, Letter writing work for grade 5, Grade 5 revising and editing, Grade 5 writing, Grade 5 writing prompts, Grade 5 writing, 4th and 5th grade writing folder, Writing work grade 5 suffixes spelling.

Found worksheet you are looking for? To download/print, click on pop-out icon or print icon to worksheet to print or download. Worksheet will open in a new window. You can & download or print using the browser document reader options.

1. Letter Writing Worksheets For Grade 5

2. letter writing worksheets for grade 5, 3. grade 5 revising and editing, 4. grade 5 writing, 5. grade 5 writing prompts, 6. grade 5 writing, 7. 4th and 5th grade writing folder, 8. writing worksheet-grade 5 suffixes-spelling.

To My 2024 Teacher Letter - Year Version

writing a letter 5th grade

What educators are saying


A letter to my 2024 Teacher - It's such an exciting time moving into the next year level, but with that also comes nerves and a bit of the unknown. I wanted my students to be excited to meet their new teacher and for their teacher to have some knowledge of them and their interests. This template allows students to tell their future teacher about them. They can include any facts that they would like to share. It provides an opportunity for teachers to be able to build relationships quickly with their new students.

This file has 'Year' in place of 'Grade.'

For those moving into classes Grade One to Grade Six.

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  1. Examples Of Friendly Letters For 5Th Graders ~ Friendly Letter Format

    writing a letter 5th grade

  2. Free Cursive Handwriting Worksheets For 5th Grade

    writing a letter 5th grade

  3. How To Write A Letter For 5Th Graders

    writing a letter 5th grade

  4. Friendly Letter Format Topics Grade 5 / Letter Writing

    writing a letter 5th grade

  5. 5Th Grade Formal Letter Prompt / The writing prompt worksheet contains

    writing a letter 5th grade

  6. Pin by Sheryl Sonnacchio on 5th Grade SRA Imagine It!

    writing a letter 5th grade


  1. Writing Friendly Letters

    1st through 5th Grades View PDF Letter to Mom Write a letter to your mom and tell her why you love her. This printable includes special stationery for a letter and picture. 2nd through 5th Grades View PDF Letter To Your Dad Write a letter to your father in which you tell him why he's special to you.

  2. Free Printable Writing Letters Worksheets for 5th Grade

    Free Printable Writing Letters Worksheets for 5th Grade Writing Letters: Discover an extensive collection of free printable Reading & Writing worksheets, perfect for Grade 5 students and teachers. Enhance learning and explore new ways to improve literacy skills with Quizizz. grade 5 Writing Letters Recommended Topics for you Writing Names

  3. An Introduction to Letter Writing

    By: My Child magazine Letter writing can be fun, help children learn to compose written text, and provide handwriting practice — and letters are valuable keepsakes. This article contains activities to help children ages 5-9 put pen to paper and make someone's day with a handwritten letter. Home Reading Topics A-Z Writing

  4. Browse Printable 5th Grade Writing Worksheets

    30 Days of Gratitude. Get kids in the holiday spirit by practicing 30 Days of Gratitude! This activity is perfect for November, but can also be done year-round. 5th grade. Social emotional. Worksheet. Summer Writing Prompt #1: My Dream Vacation. Worksheet.

  5. Grade 5 Grammar & Writing Worksheets

    Grade 5 grammar and writing worksheets covering the parts of speech (verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, prepositional phrases, interjections, conjunctions) subjects, objects and predicates, and the writing and punctuation of proper sentences. Free | Worksheets | Grade 5 | Grammar & Writing | Printable.

  6. FREE Grade 5 Reading and Writing Worksheets

    Letter writing has been introduced in basic forms since grade 3, however from grade 4 onwards it becomes more focussed. Different text types are introduced included formal letters. Commonly students will be asked to write a letter of complaint. We have a set of grade 5 reading and writing worksheets that cover this in detail here.

  7. 18 Great Fifth-Grade Writing Activities

    Letter-Writing The art of letter writing comes alive as 5th graders learn to express their thoughts and emotions effectively through personal and persuasive letters. Whether penning a heartfelt note to a friend, advocating for a cause, or crafting a formal letter, students explore the power of words to connect, influence, and communicate. 3.

  8. Browse Printable 5th Grade Letter Worksheets

    Capital Letters S-D-F-J-K-L. Worksheet. 1. Browse Printable 5th Grade Letter Worksheets. Award winning educational materials designed to help kids succeed. Start for free now!

  9. Free Printable Alphabet Worksheets for 5th Grade

    Alphabet worksheets for Grade 5 are essential tools for teachers to help their students develop strong reading and writing skills. These worksheets provide a variety of activities and exercises designed to engage and challenge students, while reinforcing their understanding of the alphabet and its usage. Teachers can use these worksheets to ...

  10. The Parts of a Letter Printable

    Sincerely, TeacherVision. This colorful printable makes the basic format of a typical letter easy for students to understand and visualize! Greeting, heading, body, and closing are covered, along with a list of common abbreviations. Use this as the basis for a Letter Writing Week lesson (celebrated in January), or as a way to start a penpal ...

  11. How I Teach 5th Grade Writing

    5th grade writing doesn't have to be a struggle! This blog post will provide all of my best tips and ideas for teaching your fifth graders to succeed as writers. I've had classes where writing was a struggle allll yearrrr longggg. I've also had classes where I'd swear my students were one step away from writing professionally.

  12. How to Teach Writing in 5th Grade

    Pacing I spend approximately 9 weeks on each main genre of writing (narrative, persuasive, and informational/expository). I teach the writing genres in this order: personal narrative, fictional narrative, persuasive, how-to informational, compare and contrast, descriptive/explanatory informational. Closer Look at Each 9 Weeks

  13. 32 Fun Letter Writing Topics, Prompts, and Ideas

    Letter Writing Topics, Prompts, and Ideas for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders— Letter writing may not be in fashion anymore, but it's still an incredibly valuable skill for people of all ages to have—and there's no better time to introduce students to letter writing than in your classroom.

  14. Letter-Writing : 5th grade friendly letter

    The letter has less then three paragraphs. The letter is not written in paragraphs. Sentences & Paragraphs. Sentences and paragraphs are complete, well-constructed and of varied structure. All sentences are complete and well-constructed (no fragments, no run-ons). Paragraphing is generally done well.

  15. 5th grade writing Worksheets, word lists and activities.

    5th Grade Writing Worksheets 19 5th Grade Writing Worksheets Active and passive sentences In this language arts worksheet, your child learns about active and passive voice and gets practice rewriting sentences to change them from passive to active and vice versa. Colons, semicolons, and dashes

  16. Letter Writing Grade 5 Teaching Resources

    This 5 week opinion writing unit will help you teach your second grade students to write reviews and persuasive letters! This pack has everything you need, from complete opinion writing lesson plans to writing paper to posters to writing rubrics and more.The unit begins with having students write reviews to share their opinions about ...

  17. Formal Letter Writing For Grade 5 Kids

    Formal Letter Writing For Grade 5 Kids - Displaying top 8 worksheets found for this concept. Some of the worksheets for this concept are Letter writing, Letter writing unit in the 3rd grade, Grade 5 writing, Grade 5 writing prompts, Letter writing informal letters friendly letter writing, Formal letter wc handout final, Putting pen to paper ...

  18. Letter Writing Teaching Resources for 5th Grade

    Letter Writing for 1st Grade Letter Writing for 2nd Grade Letter Writing for 3rd Grade Letter Writing for 4th Grade Letter Writing for 6th Grade About Us. About Us; One Million Trees Project; Testimonials & Reviews Careers; More. Plans & Pricing Gift Cards Curriculums Teach Starter Australia

  19. Grade 5 Letter Writing Worksheets

    Grade 5 Letter Writing. Displaying top 8 worksheets found for - Grade 5 Letter Writing. Some of the worksheets for this concept are Letter writing work for grade 5, Letter writing work for grade 5, Grade 5 revising and editing, Grade 5 writing, Grade 5 writing prompts, Grade 5 writing, 4th and 5th grade writing folder, Writing work grade 5 ...

  20. Crafting Your Persuasive Letter

    Write that person next to the issue. Tell students that one way to have agency (or power) in an issue is to voice your opinion. Good leaders listen to the people they are leading. They are now going to learn how to voice a concern in a well-written formal letter. Download to read more.

  21. A Simple Letter Introduction

    #PunctuatingSimpleLetterTopics Covered:Writing a simple letterParts of a letterPunctuating a simple letterRules for writing a simple letterI hope you liked o...

  22. Results for letter writing 5th grade

    Created by. Rose Kasper's Resources. These TEKS Posters for 5th Grade Reading and Writing have been updated to reflect the ELAR TEKS adopted for the 2019 - 2020 School Year (English Language Arts and Reading - ELAR). They are written in kid-friendly language, yet maintain the academic vocabulary students need.

  23. To My 2024 Teacher Letter

    A letter to my 2024 Teacher - It's such an exciting time moving into the next year level, but with that also comes nerves and a bit of the unknown. I wanted my students to be excited to meet their new teacher and for their teacher to have some knowledge of them and their interests. This template allows students to tell their future teacher ...

  24. A Letter to My 5-Year-Old

    It hurts to fall. Your heart will break and your bruises will be painful. But I promise you my sweet girl, each time your heart breaks, my heart will break more. I'll be there for you always. And on the day I'm no longer by your side, I'll be in your heart. Never forget. You've reached a big milestone. 5 years old.

  25. Catholic Daily Mass

    Starting at 8 a.m. ET on EWTN: Holy Mass on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 Today's celebrant is Father Matthew Mary Readings: Rom 12:5-16b Lk 14:15-24...